RELATIONAL PROPERTY: a property that depends on a thing’s relationship to other things.
While taking philosophy at Rice, I was intrigued with the concept of relational properties, and later used it in my thesis to describe what I created for my MFA show. In 1983 I was ready to take the images which I thought bore primal relationships to one another and set them up on a grid. Prior to painting 56 Primary Internal Images I kept seeing these images in different successions at different times. I thought that by setting them up together in a painting I would be able to figure out what about each of these seemed related to others in the grid. In other words, I would understand what their visual relational properties were.
While this might seem abstract to think about, the painting quite concretely lays out similarities that to my mind, starting in infancy, were germane to my development as a person, dreamer, thinker and artist.
Not every image is identifiable as a thing. This makes perfect sense to me, because the recurrent, connected images that define this part of me are not all identifiable. Rather they are shapes formed from memory of other shapes, perhaps gleaned from how I perceived natural surrounds prior to having formed words for the objects I saw.
The painting is sort of a listing of images that recur in my paintings and to that end it’s been a handy reference.
Here’s me in 1984 giving a lecture on the piece at the Port of History Museum. It’s the largest painting I ever created, and that show was the only public space it was ever displayed. I had to rent a truck to get it to and from!